You don’t need Pro Football Focus to tell you how much Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likes to throw the deep ball as you should already be aware of that if you’ve followed his career. What you might not know, however, is that Roethlisberger led the NFL last season in deep passing touchdowns.
No QB had more touchdowns on deep passes last year than Ben Roethlisberger pic.twitter.com/OypfiqrVag
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 29, 2017
According to a Thursday Twitter infographic posted by PFF, Roethlisberger had 13 deep passing touchdowns last season and that was two more than Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck both had.
Now, you should probably know that unlike the NFL, PFF considers a deep pass as one being thrown 20 yards or more in the air past the original line of scrimmage. The NFL, in case you don’t already know it, considers a deep pass as one traveling more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage.
Thanks to our game charting from last season, I can tell you that Roethlisberger’s 13 deep pass touchdowns traveled an average distance of 29.2 yards past the original line of scrimmage. I can also tell you that wide receiver Antonio Brown was on the receiving end on eight of those throws with the average air travel being 29.4 yards.
As for Roethlisberger’s other five deep passing touchdowns from last season, wide receivers Cobi Hamilton, Markus Wheaton, Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates and Darrius Heyward-Bey each caught one deep pass for a score.
What PFF also doesn’t tell you is that Roethlisberger attempted 88 deep passes of 20 yards or more last season and that he completed 34 of them (38.6%) for 1,078 yards, according to our game charting. It would be interesting to know how his deep pass completion percentage stacked up last season to other quarterbacks.
In case you’re curious, Roethlisberger only had five deep passing touchdowns during the 2015 regular season and wide receiver Martavis Bryant was on the receiving end for two of those with Brown, Wheaton and Heyward-Bey each catching one a piece.